CAIRO -- Al Qaeda says it is severing all
ties with one of its purported branches fighting in Syria and that it is
distancing itself from the rebel infighting in the civil war. Al Qaeda's general command said in an
Internet statement early Monday that it was cutting off the group known as the
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS), led by Abu
Bakr al-Baghdadi, after it disobeyed orders from the terror network's leader,
The authenticity of the statement could not
independently be verified but it was posted on websites commonly used by al Qaeda.
Al-Zawahri last May ordered the Islamic State
to operate independently from a rival al Qaeda branch in Syria, the Nusra Front,
led by Abu Mohammed al-Golani. Al-Baghdadi rejected al-Zawahri's orders and
unsuccessfully sought to merge the two branches.